It’s been a month since I began chasing hippos. I visited many places that had them, but seeing them in all their oval glory proved difficult. Only now, in Zambia’s South Luangwa, I’ve managed to get a perfect look at them.

You’ve got to love an animal that’s purple. You simply must. And the way they waddle out of the river late at dusk to graze, almost bouncing as they run away from the spotlights of game drives. My coveted photo was a bit of a cliché – I wanted a hippo roaring (or yawning, it didn’t matter) with all its might. Sick of lodges and their strict rules I drove all day, from sunrise to sunset, and though I was just as ready to bush camp as before, it was nice to find a cozy little hide overlooking the river – a pod of hippos waiting for nightfall right under my nose. There, I spent hours and hours, like a sniper in a trench, firing at my target. I’ve spent the night in the hide, and was still shooting in the morning with the toothbrush sticking out of my mouth.